U.S. Government Sets Sights on Google's Ad Empire

A federal judge has slated a landmark trial against Google's advertising business for September this year, highlighting a pivotal moment in the ongoing scrutiny of Big Tech's market practices.

by Faruk Imamovic
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U.S. Government Sets Sights on Google's Ad Empire
© Getty Images/David Paul Morris

A federal judge has slated a landmark trial against Google's advertising business for September this year, highlighting a pivotal moment in the ongoing scrutiny of Big Tech's market practices. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, overseeing the proceedings in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, has set September 9 as the commencement date for this high-profile case.

This lawsuit delves into the heart of Google’s operations, challenging the mechanisms behind an ad business that significantly bolsters its revenues. With advertising contributing approximately $66 billion to Alphabet (Google's parent company) out of a total $86 billion in its latest quarterly earnings, the stakes are unmistakably high.

The Joe Biden Administration Takes on Big Tech

Marking the Joe Biden administration's first antitrust lawsuit against a major technology firm, this case underscores a renewed commitment to enforcing competition laws within the tech industry.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), alongside multiple states, accuses Google of engaging in anti-competitive practices. These allegations include acquiring competitors through questionable mergers and coercing publishers and advertisers into using its ad technology products, thereby consolidating its dominance in the market.

Contrary to these allegations, Google maintains that the ad tech landscape is both competitive and dynamic. The company argues that the lawsuit is based on misconceptions that, if pursued, would hinder innovation, escalate advertising costs, and impede the growth of thousands of small businesses and publishers.

Broader Implications for Google’s Dominance

This advertising lawsuit represents the second major antitrust challenge Google has faced in recent years, with the first targeting its preeminence as the default search engine on myriad devices.

Initiated by the Justice Department during the Trump era, the search case recently concluded its trial phase, with closing arguments anticipated in the spring. Together, these legal battles could fundamentally alter Google's influence over internet consumer experiences, questioning the company's longstanding dominance in online search and advertising.

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